Making money from your website or blog requires hard work, but it is possible. There are thousands of people who have managed to turn their part-time hobbies into real income-generating online businesses.
So where do we start?
Today I will share with you 13 proven ways on how to monetize a website or a blog. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, you should be able to see some positive results within a month or two. Once you make that first dollar online, you finally realize that you are doing things right. Who knows, maybe within a year or two your site will be generating enough money to make blogging your main source of income.
Don’t forget that running a website and writing content is not easy, but it certainly is rewarding. Now let’s look at the different ways in which we can monetize our website or blog.
#1. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is one of the most common ways to make money online. Before you start promoting products and services, you need to find and join the right affiliate programs. You can promote anything – from actual physical products to services like SEO tools or web hosting. Once you become an affiliate, you simply add affiliate links to your website. If one of your visitors clicks on your affiliate link and purchases the product/service from the affiliate website, you get a commission.
Depending on the products you promote, the commissions can vary anywhere between 5% to 50%. There are tons of affiliate programs to choose from, everything depends on your site’s niche and content.
Popular Affiliate Programs
- Amazon Associates – choose from over a million products to advertise to your customers
- eBay Partner Network – there are over 1 billion listings on eBay to choose from
- Commission Junction (CJ) – the world’s largest and most established affiliate marketing network designed to help you achieve intelligent, scalable, and sustainable growth
Still confused about how affiliate marketing works? Check out my Affiliate Marketing for Dummies guide.
#2. Display Advertising
Displaying ads on a website is probably the most popular way of making money online. I’m sure everyone has heard of Google AdSense. It is a free and simple way to earn money by displaying targeted ads on your website. These ads are paid for by advertisers who want to promote their products and services on the Web.
There are different types of ads that you can use with AdSense:
- Display ads
- Text ads
- Link units
- Rich media ads (such as video ads, dynamic images, etc)
- CPC (cost-per-click)
The cost-per-click (CPC) is the amount that you earn each time a user clicks on your ad. The CPC for any ad is determined by the advertiser; some advertisers may be willing to pay more per click than others, depending on what they’re advertising.
- CPM (cost per thousand impressions)
CPM stands for “cost per thousand impressions”. Advertisers running CPM ads set their desired price per 1000 ads served, select the specific ad placements on which to show their ads and pay each time their ad appears.
- Traffic – number of visitors who come to your website.
- CTR (click-through rate) – the number of ad clicks divided by the number of page views. CTR = Clicks / Page views. For example, if you received 2 clicks for 100 page views, then your CTR would be 2%. CTR = 2/100 = 2%.
It really is a no brainer when it comes to displaying ads on your website. Just make sure not to go overboard with the ad placements and keep them relevant to your niche.
Sign Up For Google AdSense
Joining Google Adsense is free and super easy. All you need to have is 3 following things:
- A Google account
- A website or blog with original content
- Valid contact details – phone number and postal address
Even though meeting Google AdSense eligibility requirements seems easy in theory, I would recommend signing up once your website is a few months old and has at least a dozen decent articles. That way you are most likely to avoid rejection and get accepted into the program.
#3. Sell Advertising Space
If your website has a following and gets decent traffic, you might benefit from selling your ad space directly to advertisers.
4 Advantages of Selling Advertising Space Directly
- No Middleman. Avoiding the middleman (ad networks, affiliate networks, etc) gives you the opportunity to get bigger earnings and not pay commissions.
- Approve Advertisers. You can actually choose the advertisers you like and stay away from annoying and unnecessary adverts.
- Develop Business Relationships. You can develop long-term relationships with your advertisers and benefit from each other’s experience.
- Set Your Own Price. You get to decide how much you will charge for displaying an Ad and state your preferred payment method.
If you haven’t got thousands of visitors per day but your site has got a bunch of loyal visitors, why not try and monetize your blog by creating a donation button. It won’t make you a millionaire but it will give a few extra bucks that could go towards your site needs – like paying for hosting, premium plugins, SEO tools, etc.
You will be surprised, but some of your daily readers will donate a small sum just as a thank you gesture. So go ahead and create a PayPal Donate button right now. It is super simple, just take a look at the screenshot below:
All you need to do is pick your country, language, and button style. You can either use the standard button style or use your own image for the button. It’s entirely up to you.
#5. Product Or Service Reviews
If you have a website or a blog, chances are you are proficient in the niche you have picked. So why not start writing product or service reviews that will help your readers make better decisions?
Depending on your website performance and traffic, you can either write paid reviews or review affiliate products.
If your site has thousands of visits a day, there is a good chance you can start writing paid reviews for certain products. Now, this can work in 2 ways:
- Get personally approached by a company that will ask you to write a detailed review of their product. Make sure to research the company before agreeing to promote them. Discuss the payment amount and article requirements (word count, backlinks, images, etc)
- Reach out to companies in your niche and offer them to review their products. Be ready to face rejection until you find that company that is willing to do business with you.
If your site is not generating thousands of visits per day yet but has a loyal following, you can write product reviews of affiliate products. There is a big possibility that your readers will listen to your opinion and consider buying the product you are promoting.
Whatever it is you are reviewing, please be honest and stay true to yourself. Don’t be a cheap sell out as this could potentially harm your site’s reputation and trustworthiness. Always promote products you 100% believe in. For example, you can promote your web hosting company or the laptop that you use. The bottom line is, it has to be believable and sincere.
#6. Sponsored Posts
A sponsored post (also known as a promoted post) is an article that a website owner is paid to publish on their site by another company. Basically, if your site appeals to a company and they want to generate brand awareness within your niche, they will pay you money for displaying or writing a post on your website.
Sometimes the company writes the post and you simply publish it on your website. In other instances, you are required to write a post revolving around a specific topic or product yourself.
Whatever it is, you should have the final say. How much will you charge for the post? What are the post requirements? Is it going to stay on your site forever or only for a fixed period of time? All these things need to be discussed by both parties prior to making the agreement.
Sponsored posts are getting a bad rep lately, but it is still a good technique to make some extra money from your site.
#7. Website Flipping
If you feel like your site is at a stage where it can make a good profit or you simply don’t want to invest any more time into it, it might be a good idea to sell it. This practice is called website flipping.
The most famous marketplace for selling websites is Flippa. Founded in 2009, they have facilitated over 250,000 website sales. There are over 120,000 registered buyers on Flippa who place bids on sites they are interested in buying.
I think one of the reasons Flippa is the largest website flipping service is its affordability. It only costs 15 USD dollars to list a site plus a success fee that is payable with a successful sale.
What is dropshipping?
Shopify provides the following definition:
Dropshippingis a retail fulfillment method where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product.
How does dropshipping work?
Dropshipping can be explained in 3 simple steps:
- Customer visits your website, sees a product he/she likes, places an order and pays for it.
- You receive the money from the sales transaction and forward the order and money to your supplier. You keep the profit margin to yourself.
- Supplier receives the order details and money from you. He then ships the order to the customer.
#9. Offer services
If people are visiting your website and spending a considerable amount of time on it, that means they are interested in the content you post. So why not offer your paid services to people?
What are you good at? Perhaps you know everything about copywriting or you are a pro at web design. Or maybe you are a great teacher and can offer coaching or consulting services? Whatever it is, I can tell you that there are at least a few people among your readers who are willing to pay for your expertise.
Examples of services to offer:
- freelance writing
- web design
- web development
- graphic design
- video editing
- digital marketing services – SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing, affiliate marketing
- teaching and tutoring
#10. Sell eBooks
If you have been blogging for a while and gathered quite a bit of information throughout the years, you should consider writing an eBook and selling it on your website.
Why do people buy eBooks? Because they can be easily downloaded and accessed pretty much anywhere and any time. Also, eBooks provide more in-depth information on a subject the person is interested in compared to a blog post.
Tips for writing and selling an eBook
- Pick a topic related to your niche and brainstorm some ideas. Make sure it is something you are knowledgeable in and have a genuine interest in.
- Start writing and make sure to stick to your schedule.
- Proofread and edit your finished text.
- Formatting and design – you can either find a skilled designer to do this or do it yourself by using a publishing software application like Adobe InDesign.
- Publish your eBook and decide on the price. You can give away some free eBooks for a limited time in order to generate some buzz around it.
- Start promoting your eBook – reach out to people in your industry and ask them to promote it in the form of mentions, shares or reviews.
#11. Sell online courses
Similar to writing an eBook, you can also make money by creating and selling an online course. There are 3 main routes you can choose from:
- Create the course by yourself and host it on your website. There are WordPress plugins you can download in order to help you set up and run your online course. This option is quite time-consuming and requires you to have some technical knowledge.
- Join an online learning and teaching marketplace like Udemy. Probably the easiest option but also the one with the most restrictions. Udemy will pretty much control everything – from course prices to revenue sharing.
- Use a Learning Management System (LMS) like Thinkific. LMS is a software application that helps you administer, track, report and deliver educational courses. Unlike online learning and teaching marketplaces, LMS gives you pretty much full control over your course – you get to pick your format, your prices, your payment systems and so forth.
So if you are ready to invest some time and energy into creating an online course, it is definitely something to consider. Not only is it a great monetization tool, but also a serious CV booster.
#12. Host paid webinars
If you are a confident speaker and have a lot of things to share and discuss, you can interact with your readers by hosting a paid live webinar. In order to do this, you need to pick the right webinar software.
Depending on your budget, you can spend anywhere between $20 to $100 per month, depending on the number of your webinar attendees, duration, online support and so on.
Popular Webinar Platforms
#13. Create memberships for premium content
Creating memberships is a great way to integrate all your paid content into one section on your website. Members-only section gives access to all the premium content and services you have to offer.
You have to decide how you are going to execute this. Are you going to accept members all year round or only during limited times? What content and features will the membership include? How much will it cost? What payment options will be available? And so forth.
Ideas for Membership Features
- Access to eBooks
- Access to online courses
- Access to weekly live webinars
- Admission to private group discussions
- Direct contact with the site owner through email
And those were my 13 proven ways on how to monetize a website or blog. The majority of these methods don’t require you to have thousands of visitors a day either. The most important thing about monetization is finding the right method for YOUR SITE.
As long as you are consistent and put time and energy into doing what you love, success will come.
Got any comments or questions? Please leave them in the comment section below.